Kansas Common Sense


Welcome to “Kansas Common Sense.” Thanks for your continued interest in receiving my weekly newsletter. Please feel free to forward it on to your family and friends if it would interest them.

USA TODAY Op-Ed with Sen. McCain 
Earlier this month, I introduced legislation with Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) to transform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs into a 21st century healthcare system that would increase veterans’ access to care. I encourage you to read more on our efforts in our joint USA TODAY op-ed:

“Unlike other proposals, our legislation creates and specifies the tools the VA must use to reform health care rather than relying on the bureaucracy to determine the rules. We have learned over time that Congress must provide clear direction and guidance to the VA to prevent inconsistent experiences, enhance veterans’ quality of life, and achieve better health outcomes… Today, the VA is in need of another major reform and we have the opportunity to deliver real transformation.”

Legislation to Support our National Defense Signed Into Law
This week, I was pleased that the President signed the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. The NDAA provides members of our United States Armed Forces with the support they need to protect our nation, and this year’s NDAA includes legislative measures that I led in the Senate, particularly the Gary Deloney and John Olsen Toxic Exposure Declassification Act. This legislation, which is named after a Fort Scott veteran, would make certain veterans have access to military records regarding their exposure to toxic substances and requires the Department of Defense to declassify documents that relate to incidents where servicemembers were exposed to a toxic substance that later had a damaging effect on their health. Often, the impacts of toxic exposure don’t appear until long after servicemembers have returned home from the battlefield and military records are filed away – giving our veterans access to their classified military records to prove exposure is the least we can do to make certain they receive the benefits they have earned.

My Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act was also included in the NDAA signed into law on Tuesday. This landmark legislation will reduce wasteful government IT spending and strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity. I applaud the administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their tireless work to get this legislation signed into law and to bring our inefficient, outdated federal IT system into the 21st century. The improved efficiencies from the MGT Act will empower agencies to modernize their legacy IT systems, better protect our data from cyberattacks and ultimately save billions in taxpayer dollars by reducing long-term spending.

Advocating for CHIP on the Senate Floor
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) helps provide healthcare coverage to children in low-income families in Kansas and around the country who otherwise would be left without any insurance, and most likely, without the funds necessary to cover these healthcare costs. While there are sufficient funds in Kansas to fund CHIP through March, that’s certainly not the case for all states. I spoke on the Senate floor to advocate for CHIP’s reauthorization this week.

The time to reauthorize CHIP is now. Please watch my full remarks here.

Accepting the 2017 Freedom to Fly Award
On Wednesday, I was proud to accept the 2017 Freedom to Fly award from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), presented annually to members of Congress in recognition of their support for general aviation. As Kansans know, our state has a rich aviation heritage going back 100 years to the days when pioneers like Clyde Cessna helped establish Wichita as the “Aviation Capital of the World.” Today over 40,000 Kansans make a living manufacturing, operating and servicing the world’s highest quality aircraft.

During my time in Congress I have worked to strengthen the general aviation industry by reducing the regulatory burden on manufacturers, preserving rural access to air service, and most recently, fighting against efforts to privatize our nation’s air traffic control system. Thank you to AOPA President Mark Baker and his organization, which represents the world’s largest community of pilots and aviation enthusiasts, for this tremendous honor.

Joining the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce Annual Chairman’s Reception
Upon returning to Kansas, I attended the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce Annual Chairman’s Reception hosted by Johnson County Community College (JCCC) and co-sponsored by Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas. The gathering was a good opportunity for me to receive feedback from the Overland Park business community and local public officials on topics such as infrastructure, education, healthcare and tax reform. I also had the pleasure of visiting with the Chamber’s incoming Chairman Brett Bogan and 2017 Chairman Michael Tracy. I appreciate their willingness to volunteer their time in service of their community. Thank you to Mr. Tracy and Mr. Bogan for welcoming me, to Chamber President Tracey Osborn for coordinating my visit, and to JCCC and Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas for facilitating the evening’s events.

Laying Wreaths to Honor Our Veterans
On Saturday, I was privileged to take part in National Wreaths Across America Day Ceremony at the Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery in WaKeeney. I joined members of every branch of the armed services and family members of some of the brave men and women laid to rest there. The Wreaths Across America program started 25 years ago with wreaths being placed in Arlington National Cemetery, and has grown to honoring those laid to rest in over 1200 locations across the nation. I’m so grateful to our country’s veterans, and particularly those in Kansas. None of us would have the opportunities we have and our country wouldn’t be what it is today without the sacrifice and courage of those who have served in our military.

Kansans in the Office
Haleigh Wood of Belpre
Clayton Wood of Belpre

Kansas Chamber of Commerce
Alan Cobb of Topeka

Physician Hospitals of America
LuAnn Puvogel of Salina

Ducks Unlimited
Andy Hineman of Scott City
Alicia Allen of Sharron Springs
Mark Smith of Wallace

Capitol Tour
Roger Kidd of Wichita
Paula Kidd of Wichita
Wayne Nelson of Salina
Barbara Nelson of Salina

Honored to Serve You in Washington
It is an honor to serve you in Washington, D.C. Thank you to the many Kansans who have been calling and writing in to share their thoughts and opinions on the issues our state and country face. I appreciate the words of Kansans, whether in the form of a form of letter, a Facebook comment or a phone call, who wish to make their voice heard.

Please let me know how I can be of assistance. You can contact me by email by clicking here. You can also click here to contact me through one of my Kansas offices or my Washington, D.C., office.

Very truly yours,

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